Monday, May 30, 2011


The thing about moving into a one-bedroom apartment with three people is that you need to have excellent storage.
So yesterday Gregory, Miss Q and I went to IKEA.
All day long.
We got there before 11 and got home at 4.30.
It cost us 20 bucks in parking.
Because we had to borrow my mum’s car and take two cars as we had so much storage to buy in order to make three people living in a one-bedroom apartment remotely possible.

There were a couple of things working against us.
The flash flooding and torrential rain being one.

But that didn’t compare with discovering we’d lost the list that had all the measurements for the nooks and crannies we plan to store our life in. 
I maintain that Gregory left it in the mattress section, Gregory maintains he never had it in the first place and that I should stop blaming him. 
And then writing about it on a public forum.

Not being able to find the cars once we’d purchased our items and had a pram filled with crap, an 8kg baby in my arms and Gregory pushing a semi-trailer through the shopping centre didn’t help either.

I was convinced we’d parked on the orange floor but for some sadistic reason the morons who designed the car park have two floors coloured different shades of orange.
How do these people keep their jobs?
How do they get a job in the first place?

So then I was convinced we had parked on a floor that reminded me of a sunset, so off we went to the other orange floor – no cars – and then the yellow floor – still no cars.
Gregory had no recollection of parking the cars at all so was absolutely no help, but did, remarkably, manage to keep his use of the F-bomb to a minimum.

Eventually we found our cars on the green level, (nothing to do with sunsets at all as it turned out) and after an emergency breastfeed in the car park, we finally exited the building.

You’d think the best part of it all, was that we did it without a single fight – we even made out in the curtain section, behind a couple of ugly venetian blinds.

But no, the best part of all, is that one of the things we want - no, one of the things we need in order to fit all our crap into our little one-bedroom apartment is out of stock.

So we have to go back.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


The second story in my tales from New York...
I hope you enjoy it.

My friend tells a cracking good story about her escapade on the subway.  She was house sitting, well dog-sitting actually, when one night she comes home to find the dog has up and died on her.  Terrified, she calls the owners but they don’t seem too distressed by their pet’s passing and ask her just to take the dog to their vet and they will sort it out when they get back. 
How am I going to transport a dead dog around the streets of New York the girl wonders the next morning, staring at the deceased canine lying in rigor mortis on the living room floor.  Sensibly (she thinks) she chooses a suitcase and stuffs the stiffened dog inside, pushing his paws into the corners and curling his tail around the special compartment for socks and ties.  It’s a pretty tight fit and she only just manages to close the lid, so she grabs the dog leash, (figuring the owners won’t need it anymore) and ties it around the case for extra support.  There is no elevator to the top floor apartment of this brownstone in Greenwich Village, so she has no choice but to lug the suitcase full of demised dog down the stairs and out into the snowy streets of NY.  Now, the vet is located in midtown and one would assume the ideal mode of transport for courier of a dead dog would be a taxi.  But she’s an actor, therefore she’s poor and doesn’t have the money for a taxi, so she embraces the chariot for the common man, that mighty workhorse…the great New York subway.  She drags the case along the snow-slicked street and kuh-thunk ku-thunk ku-thunk’s her hefty load down two flights of stairs to the subway platform.  So far so good she thinks, waiting for the uptown train.  It arrives and she joins the commuters, her suitcase blending inconspicuously with their double bass cases, shopping carts, un-assembled K-Mart furniture, plants, bikes and assorted paraphernalia other Americans would transport in their car.  She alights at her stop, dragging the doggie bag out just in time to escape the closing doors, then looks up the three flights of stairs, daunted at the prospect of getting her corpse to the top.  The last thing she needed was for the case to bust its seams and spill perished pooch all over the stairs.
“Excuse me ma’am do you need a hand?” asks a young man.
“Oh that would be awesome,” she says gratefully, “thank you so much.  This bag is really heavy.”
“It looks it,” says the Good Samaritan, picking up one end of the case, “what’s in there?”
“Ah…computer supplies,” lies my friend, hoping he doesn’t get too close and catch the faint whiff of expired canine.
“Oh right, like parts of computers?” asks the guy as they reach the first landing.
“Yeah,” agrees the girl, going along with his assumption.  “I’m moving and this seemed like the best way to transport my computer.  Pull it all apart and pack it in a suitcase.” She cringes at her tale, but the guy seems to believe her and they make it to the second landing.  “Nearly there,” she says, “thanks so much for helping me.” 
“No problem,” says the guy, “I’m just glad I was around when you needed me.” 
And then he punches her in the face, prompting her to drop the bag and grab her bleeding nose.  Before she has a chance to recover, the guy grabs the case, sprints up the final flight of stairs and out into the streets of NY never to be seen again. 
And not with a case of dismantled computer pieces like he supposes, but rather of a day-old deceased Fido on its way to the doggie morgue. 


When Miss Q first arrived, I thought how well (and even if) I could do everything that was required for her, was a reflection on my ability to mother.

Now I understand that is just not the case and am more than happy to concede that there are some things others are far better at doing than I.

Gregory is definitely superior at putting her to sleep for example.
I can, and do so successfully several times a day, but she knows I’ll hang around for a chat if she wants me to.
With Gregory it’s all business and she’s down before you can sing rock a bye baby.

My mother wins on guessing why she’s crying; ‘perhaps her nappy needs a change Nome,’ she’ll delicately say, and always be right.
Actually, my mother is always right on most things, which continues to be a main annoyance in my life, but is now more obvious than ever. My mum always knew if I’d need a sweater during the day, or if it was going to rain. When Q ask me those things, I’ll just tell her to ring her Nona.

My dad’s voice lulls her into some sort of trance. She’ll listen to him for hours.

Uncles have the roughhousing stitched up, which is good. I don’t want my girl to be a wuss.

Recipe ideas – other mothers for sure. Although I will lay claim to avocado and natural yoghurt. It’s really quite delicious. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Peek-a-boo is way cooler when it comes from someone else. Particularly a guy with a big bouffant and some facial hair.

But there ain’t a single person in the world that owns Miss Q’s particular brand of milk apart from me.
Nobody else in the universe knows just how she takes her mama-cuddles, (high on the left shoulder, deep in the neck, with a touch of wetness on the cheek) and call me arrogant, but I’m damn sure I’m the only one she wants when her world has fallen in.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I’m so grateful to all the people who live and help me in ours, but Miss Q will always only have one mum.


It’s about time I acknowledged Miss Q’s sponsors.
No, I really made her. I don’t mean Gregory and I hired a gestational carrier like Nic and what’s-his-name, I mean those who’ve sponsored her since she became a human.

Miss Q.
Dressed in such labels as Collette Dinnigan (can you believe my daughter wears one of the designer's jumpsuits to bed? I would be too scared to even walk into her store), Ralph Lauren (bit too gentrified me), Adidas, (for all the running Q does), Nike, (ditto) Country Road, and a little summer dress by Calvin Klein. No, I didn’t know he did children’s clothes either.

Sponsored by her 6 American girl cousins and many friends and family members who gave Miss Q so many clothes I don’t have to wash for weeks.
Scratch that.
Sponsored by her 6 American girl cousins and many friends and family members who gave Miss Q so many clothes she never, ever runs out, even when we have four outfit changes a day.
Which means I wash all the time.

All the time.

A special mention goes out to Louise, who not only made her husband sand and re-paint their change table (Gregory and I figured we could just use the bed) but who also gave us three pairs of her daughter’s white baby stockings, fifteen years old but still in pristine condition.
Can you believe it?
They would have long ago been used to stake a tomato vine in our joint.

Thank you also, to those no longer procreating who, in the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, have passed on highchairs, seats, games, change tables, backpacks, swings, prams, musical instruments and more.
We look forward to continuing the chain of love.

And there lies my daughter, dressed in her designer wear, lying on a pre-loved lamb’s skin, next to a quilt made especially for her, a plethora of educational toys and instruments scattered about, and what does she do?
Picks up her feet and stuffs them in her mouth.
I guess it’s true what they say.

The best things in life really are free.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I am a hot beverage whore. Today I have had a cup of tea for breakfast, (no, that is not normal, I had to have a blood test so they cruelly told me I couldn’t eat beforehand) a cappuccino with what became my breakfast at 11.30am, a cup of tea when I got home, another cup of tea later on because someone else was making one, then a cup of coffee because it was 5pm which means alcoholic-beverage-o’clock. But that was in the old days. In this new life I’m a breastfeeding mother so I’m not meant to drink.
My friends have a friend who is not a hot beverage whore. In fact, he is a hot liquid hater. He will not swallow anything that is a hot liquid. And that includes melted cheese. He orders pizza delivery then sticks it in the freezer until the cheese is no longer liquid. Isn’t that fascinating.
Or weird I suppose, depending on your perspective.
To me it’s fascinating, but that’s because I recognise that sort of kooky behaviour. He is my people; it’s just that my little idiosyncrasies are either more socially acceptable, or more cleverly hidden.
In the spirit of inclusion however, I’ll expose a few for you now…
·               I have to walk on the left side of people. It’s very annoying for you if I don’t as I can’t seem to walk in a straight line if I’m on your right
·               I have to take the second item on the shelf at the supermarket, someone may have touched the first
·               I play a pattern on my fingers that I MUST finish, then reverse, then do on the other hand or I go slightly crazy
·               Before I get out of the shower, I have to wash my feet and armpits last, even though they’ve already been washed.
·               I’m developing a need to play patterns with my toes which is starting to drive even me a little bit nuts…
Miss Q doesn’t stand a chance. She’s starting young and has already developed a few of her own:
·               She doesn’t like things going over her head. Actually she doesn’t like getting dressed at all to be truthful. I’ve told her she may want to reconcile that, as it’s something that happens every day of her life. Unless she joins a nudist colony, which I hopes she doesn’t because I don’t fancy having to look at strange men’s doodles when I visit.
·               She doesn’t like the moopie (dummy) in the middle of the night even though I know it will settle her. She jams her lips shut and it would clearly be child abuse if I tried to force it in.
·               She likes the mad Russian composers best. Chopin clearly wasn’t depressed enough. Give her a bit of 1812 Overture and she’s as happy as the Russian serfs weren’t.

So next time you’re feeling weird when you line up your coat hangers with a perfect space between each, or take three large steps when you cross a street at the same time as someone wearing a red vest, console yourself with the fact that there are plenty of other weirdos out there. Like me. Or little Miss Q. Or Mr. Hot Cheese Hater. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There is a lot of carry-on in the mothering circles about the tremendous sacrifice we mothers make. Of how unnoticed our daily deeds of heroism are. Of our never ending, selflessness.
Not to mention our ability to wash nineteen loads of nappies while breastfeeding with one arm and facebooking with the other.
But let’s face it mothers. Apart from Sarah Palin’s daughter, most of us asked to be knocked up. We sat down with our life partners, structured a twelve-month savings plan, went on our last adult trip to the French Riviera, and upgraded from a one-bedroom unit in Milson’s Point to a do-upper in the inner west.
(Or in my case, you are your husband just decided to give it a go, paid no mind to finances, went on a road trip to Armidale in country New South Wales and moved into a smaller place than the one we were living in before).
But no matter. Here I am, mothering away. And honestly. I absolutely love it. It’s totally fantastic.
Here’s why:
·               I used to have to justify why I left the house in day old gym gear, a baseball cap pulled low over my un-brushed hair. Now with Miss Q in my arms, no explanation is ever required.
·               If all I’ve managed by 2pm is three cups of half drunk coffee and seventy-five made up sing-songs, it is an excellent day indeed.
·               I no longer look like I’m talking to myself. Miss Q is always there, even if she’s not remotely interested in what I’m saying.
·               Raisin toast. Banana bread. Fruit loaf. Scones. Muffins. And any other form of carbohydrate that I can eat with one hand while playing with Miss Q with the other.
·               Singing. I love it. I love doing it. I love narrating our life to song. And apparently it’s very good for Miss Q’s intellectual growth. Excellent, excellent news.
·               Scarves. I love me a good scarf. And they are the perfect cover-up when breastfeeding in public. I probably have one for every day of the month. Which is a shame, because that many are not going to fit into our small apartment.
·               Fatigue. I’m currently working on a children’s tv show, and the more delirious I become, the closer my mind gets to that of a child. I really feel like I’m working on their level.
·               Further to that, bags under my eyes. The shadows must bring out the blue. I’ve never had so many compliments.
·               Talking to strangers. I love the weirdos. And they love babies. So I’m getting to meet them all.

See mums, this mothering gig ain’t so bad.

Ohhhhhh a total oddball just walked into the café where I’m drinking a massive cappuccino and wolfing down a raspberry muffin.
I hope he comes and talks to us…

Monday, May 23, 2011


Some days it is the little things that keep you going isn’t it? 
The asinine. The ridiculous. The unnecessary. The irreverent. 
Those little moments that sometimes happen in a day that you wished happened every day because then, when you lay in bed reflecting upon the hours you spent awake, you’d have something to smile about if the rest of the day was a wipe-out.
Tonight when I get to bed, I’m going to lie there and think about how Gregory went to the garden to pick vegies and salad items and how halfway through dinner, he leapt up, grabbed his back pocket and yelped ‘my ass is on fire!’
It seems he had picked some super hot fresh chillies, shoved them in his pocket, forgot about them and mashed them into his derriere while he sat on them during dinner.
It was bloody funny then, and it’s still funny now, two hours after the event.
I hope you had a similar moment in your day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Apparently Australians live in the largest houses in the world, so Gregory and I have decided to help lower that average by moving our little family into a one bedroom apartment.
Before you start feeling sorry for us, the balcony does have a view of the harbour bridge.
So there.
We will be the envy of all come New Year’s Eve.
Of course we’ll be lonely, because the balcony is about double the size of Miss Q’s cot so none of our friends will be able to fit up there to enjoy the view with us.
I am very aware of how big Miss Q’s cot is, because as it is a one bedroom apartment, it appears she will be sleeping in our room.
Or at least until we can afford to move into a two bedroom apartment.
We were meant to make this move when Miss Q was referred to as ‘the peanut.’ She wasn’t even a human yet. But the poor people who were the previous tenants had their renovation held up because someone complained about the colour they intended on painting their front door.
So now Miss Q is well and truly human and the concept of sharing the same room with her seems slightly more ridiculous than it did before she arrived.
The apartment sits above the house of a family friend, which brings about another set of problems.
Not the house, the family friend.
‘What is that hanging at the end of the closet?’ I say to this friend who’s name shall be George.
‘That is my Spanish cape.’
‘Your Spanish cape.’
‘Yes. It is an original Spanish cape. It’s very precious. I need to keep it up here because it doesn’t fit in my wardrobe downstairs.’
‘It takes up half the closet George!’
‘I know. It won’t even fit in mine.’
‘Where am I meant to put my clothes?’
‘Up the other end.’
‘How does that help? Where will Gregory put his?’
At which point my father butted in and said; ‘it’s your bloody cape George, you want it, you take it with you.’
Which was very helpful but fair enough because George is his friend to begin with.
George is also very lucky because nothing has been done to this apartment for thirty years, including cleaning, so he is getting some serious cheap labour in the form of…my parents who spent all weekend scrubbing, sanding and painting the place while Gregory and I worked and attended Miss Q’s closest friend’s naming ceremony.
I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something to my parents’ willingness to help. Perhaps they’re not as sad to see the back of us as they’re telling us they are… 

Friday, May 20, 2011


The Sydney Writers' Festival is on this week, but Miss Q provided such a complete and utter distraction, that it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I remembered, and by then all the events I wanted to attend were booked out.
Like this one. A chance to pitch your novel to three international publishers with the possibility that they may choose to represent you.
I’ve come agonisingly close with the manuscript I wrote based on my seven years in the US but it was ultimately rejected by a u-beaut-passionfruit publishing house because the marketing department said the GFC meant people weren’t travelling much at the moment and that short stories are hard to sell.
Three points on that one.
I don’t know much about a lot of things, and virtually nothing about economics, but isn’t the Aussie dollar doing pretty well right now? Maybe lots of us are travelling.
Secondly, I doubt my book would make a very helpful travel guide around NYC anyway, unless you wanted to know which bin it was that I searched in for a Rolex with bad karma, or how a dead dog managed to travel on the subway.
And thirdly, what's wrong with short stories? They're great for people with short attention spans. 
Like me.
Some of these short stories have already made it to various public forums, (see, plenty of us have short attention spans) but I have a lot of stories to tell, so I’ve decided to put them up on this little blog of mine, one story at a time, until all 45 000 words have been posted.
I hope you enjoy…

By Naomi Hart

Low Overhead And A Sense of Improvisation Make For A Great Life.
John Leland.

Chapter One

My box of chocolates is confiscated on the grounds that it has the same density as a bomb.  Is it legal to rifle through a lady’s underwear in full view of the other passengers?  It seems highly unlikely I’ve constructed an explosive out of my asthma puffer and yet it is still confiscated due to its high security risk.  Am I a security risk? 
Welcome to Los Angeles International Airport, October 2002.  Just long enough after September 11 for Homeland Security to have developed a complex and time consuming screening process that seems to do nothing more than target old men and Australian musical theatre students on their way to New York City.
LAX has to be the most terminally boring airport in the world.  Pardon the pun.  They could learn a thing or two from the Singaporeans.  Or the Thai, or Japanese.  Get off a plane in those airports and you can indulge in a massage, delicious fresh Sushi or buy a twenty thousand dollar Rolex.  LAX has nothing more exciting than a Starbucks. 
Several hours and several more security lines later, (it’s a line now, not a queue, since I’m now in America proper) the sugar-free-hazelnut-flavoured-non-fat-double-shot-soy-latte easing the pain of my jetlag, I boarded the plane for the city that was to become my home not just for the six months I’d originally intended, but for the next seven years. 
My wondrous, overwhelming, passionate, thrilling home.
I had moved to the Big Apple to study musical theatre and found myself in student accommodation on West 100th in an apartment block called The Midway.  The Midway?  Sounded like a halfway house to me.  In fact, we’re not entirely sure it wasn’t a brothel.  One whole floor was painted bright pink and there was a curious amount of traffic in and out of there all night long. 
I climbed the six flights of stairs (New York did nothing to heal my discontent with elevators) and opened the door to my first American home…four uneven walls, one window with a view of a collapsed fire escape, linoleum floor, leaking radiator, a sink, two shelves and bunk beds.  Bunk beds?  I was twenty-three years old and I was going to sleep in a bunk bed?  As it turned out, the room was large by New York standards and my roommate and I quickly became the envy of all with our very own bathroom.  Our friends shared theirs with cockroaches, rats, and the hermit on the fifth floor.  He died sometime in December but no one knew until right before Christmas when an ungodly odour permeated the place.  The police were called and suddenly I was in my very own episode of Law And Order.  The room was guarded twenty-four hours a day and the yellow tape you see in the movies quarantined half the floor.
“Welcome to New York City, the greatest city in the world.  The envy of the world.”  (Or so we were told by the Dean of our school).  “Remember,” he added, “performing is the X-Ray of your soul.”
With my soul exposed, classes began and I was put in a group with my very own Miss America.  Well, Miss Delaware actually.  She lost out in the finals and had a fight in the dressing room with Miss Nevada and Miss Hawaii.  I was completely fascinated.  The closest I had ever come to someone like her was Miss Granny Smith in the Apple festival at the Eastwood fete.  She wanted to know if “ya’ll have kangerroooos hoppin’ bout yer yard.”  And although I already adored her, she sealed it forever when we all read A Streetcar Named Desire while she thought we’d read A Streetcar Named Desiree. 
We took four different dance disciplines – tap, jazz, theatre and ballet - most of them at eight o’clock in the morning when I was as ready to kick-ball-change as Giuliani was to give up his post.  In our first ballet lesson we had to step forward, say our name, where we were from and whom we had studied dance under. 
“Naomi Hart, Sydney Australia.  I studied ballet at the Armidale Ballet School.”  Do you think anyone had heard of that?  Our teacher took one look at our pirouettes and suggested we practice them in a closet until we could do fifteen in a row.  For a while I used my room since it was about the same size, but it all came together when my jazz teacher told me the elevator theory.  “You know when you’re in a crowded elevator and you need to fart,” he said as if it was perhaps an everyday occurrence for him, “so you clench your butt muscles to keep it in.  It’s the same thing with pirouettes.  Just pretend you need to fart.” 
I didn’t get to fifteen, but it did help me land my triples.
I was the wild card entry into the top tap class (the first class I could actually do was also the last) with a teacher that had snorted so much cocaine, blood dripped from his nose in time to the warm up.  I did get to hang out with the cool dancers though.  You know, the ones who when their tights ladder cut out the crotch and wear them as tops. 
I learned the original choreography for Cats, 42nd Street, A Chorus Line, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Tommy to name but a few.  My knees made more noise than popcorn cooking in a microwave, (I should know since it was the only thing I had to cook with) my hamstrings were tighter than an actor’s budget, and when G-Dubbya was looking for those elusive weapons of mass destruction, I though he may have been referring to my leotard and tights.  They were fierce.
Our music theatre teacher advised us not to smoke.  “If you want to rebel against your parents, I suggest lesbianism.”  He also reminded us that “acting is like a virgin on prom night; you just have to put out.”
We were taught never to point one finger on stage because it looks like a small skinny penis, and the first time I work-shopped a sex scene, (laying on a makeshift bed in nothing more than a body stocking) my teacher cautioned me to avoid looking like freshly landed trout.   He then turned to my scene partner and advised seriously, “if she is trying to seduce you, you must account for the significant shift in body mass that is likely to occur.”
The instructors were so concerned with my speech they sent me to accent reduction class to learn standard American for the stage.  It was me, the Mexicans, a couple of French Canadians, and a few blokes who wanted to rid themselves of their gay dialect.  Pretty soon, we were learning to say therrow not thorough, kahndm not condom, can’t not cahn’t.
The rest of my voice and speech class was spent squatting on my haunches “like a beer shitting” as our teacher so eloquently described.  Apparently he was looking for an open space so that if he shone a flashlight up our butts the light would come out our mouths. 
My voice teacher followed this up with a discussion about the fache (jelly) in my face and how an open throat for singing was rather like the feeling of openness during a visit to the gynecologist. 
There were times my teachers caused me great concern. 
One of our subjects required we spend seven hours each week studying the craft.  We could get away with watching reality TV if we wished, but most of us didn’t have one, so instead, we turned to our playground.  Five buck nose-bleeder tickets at the Lincoln Centre to see Jeremy Irons perform in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.  Australia’s own Caroline O’Connor as Velma Kelly in the 2500 anniversary performance of Chicago.  Standing room tickets to see Antonio Banderas play opposite that tour de force Chita Rivera, in a production of Nine that stands in my memory as one of the greatest pieces of theatre I have ever seen.  I cried when Hugh Jackman sang I Still Call Australia Home, cheered silently when my acting teacher came on stage in an off-Broadway production of Sin and saw Kathleen Turner naked.  Clearly I’m not a true artiste if that’s all I can tell you about her playing opposite Jason Biggs in The Graduate, but it did start a run of Broadway nudity for me.  If Kathleen was my appetiser, my entree was a rather meaty course of front row seats to Naked Boys Singing and I sated my sweet tooth with a production of Take Me Out, which held several of its scenes in a locker-room complete with showers.  In my professional opinion, the arctic air conditioning of a New York theatre can do nothing for a man’s self esteem. 
My favourite class, called Film Lab was scheduled once a week.  We’d all file into a dark studio and watch live recordings of the greatest theatre stars Broadway has ever seen.  Chita Rivera, Dame Judi Dench, Nathan Lane, Ann Reinking, Bob Fosse, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Tommy Tune…I would sit there with tears running silently down my face and think; This is it.  This is what I want to do.  I want to be like Carol Channing and still performing the title role in ‘Hello Dolly’ at the tender age of 72.
People’s response to NYC is typically both immediate and strong.  You either love her or you don’t.  From the second I landed, New York became my mistress.  For seven glorious, intoxicating years I was privileged enough to be her lover and while I may never live there again, when we finally broke up, she certainly kept a piece of my heart.  New York.  A farrago of cultures, generations and influences crammed together in an area only five miles by seven.  For many her spice and bolshiness seem rude and combative.  Her cauldron of cultures overwhelms and confuses.  Her speed and audacity don’t charm they repel.  She is more than just a mistress, she’s a dominatrix.  She humbles you with her frenetic pace and uncompromising ways, and if you manage to survive all that, she just waits for winter when no one will doubt who’s boss.  
If she sees you’re tired, she’ll send the trash train instead of the last A express.  If she senses you’re frustrated, she’ll send a torrent of rain when you’ve got to cross town for an audition and forgot your umbrella.  If she perceives vulnerability she’ll send your nemesis, wrapped up in a nasty casting director or a canceled flight on your Christmas getaway. 
But where else can you do your laundry at two o’clock in the morning and enjoy a beer in the courtyard while you wait for it to dry?  Not even the sign saying Please Remove All Bullets Before Washing can ruin that experience.  Or go on a first date to Momofuku noodle bar in the east village, initiate him to The Strand bookstore in Union Square, get in a bit of kanoodling in the self help section and marry him eighteen months later at a converted foundry in Queens.
Corn bread and collard greens in Harlem, Ethiopian on the West side, baklava at the Greek café on the corner of Broadway in Astoria.  Pedicures in Spanish, bikini waxes in Vietnamese, haircuts in Polish.  Get your free coffee at the porn store on 48th and 8th on your way to a callback at Chelsea Studios.  Study a lady flossing her teeth in the middle of Times Square and watch a man trim his beard on the crowded subway.  Teeming sidewalks, taxis honking, people yelling, everyone ignoring the urgent siren of the ambulance.  The Met, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art.  Twenty-four hour diners with a side of mayonnaise, dance class with original cast members of Broadway shows, the rich and famous mixing inconspicuously with the worker-bees that keep that town alive.
Twenty-fours hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.  She doesn’t stop, she doesn’t slow down, she doesn’t have to.  Don’t even think about trying to change her, if you don’t like the way things run, move to Westchester and commute like all the other pussies do. 
New York.  A city of unconquerable energy and its inhabitants, all thirsting for what they’re not sure, but knowing that if it exists at all, they’ll find it here.  It was the greatest, loneliest, headiest, saddest, ‘funnest’ and toughest time of my life.  I’m stronger now, but I’m more vulnerable, I’m quicker of mind, but more deliberate in action and I oscillate between having all the answers and not knowing a damn thing for sure at all.             
Yes, I thought as I strolled 9th Avenue one frosty February eve, I’ve made the right choice.  Now let’s get on with the show.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have no blog for you I’m afraid, because today I took Miss Q to her first cultural experience (apart from Australia Day, which arguably doesn’t count).
Today we went to The Art Gallery to view the entries in this year’s Archibald Prize.
Except Miss Q wasn’t particularly interested in viewing them, so she and I sat outside while she tried to head butt the concrete instead.
Don’t worry, I didn’t let her.
And now I’m doing work that I’m not getting paid for yet, but there is hope that I will somewhere down the line…
Though, there’ll be no hope for it at all if I don’t stop typing this non-blog blog and get back to my non-paid work.
So farewell.
I’ll catch you on the flip side.
I’ve never really understood that saying, but it makes me feel groovy just to say it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Check this out people.
Self-righteous mothers be warned.
Someone is onto our need for acknowledgement of our extreme self-sacrifice.
Damn it.


My friend sent me this email the other day…

Hi N,
Felt it was my duty as a fellow mum in sexual inertia to forward this on.
I belong to a website for new mums that sends me a daily email. The other day there was one labelled ‘libido’.
It was written by a woman saying that she and her husband are struggling to have sex because of her low libido. To counteract the problem they decide to make Wednesday night date night, (which will include a shag) and then they also factor in another shag on the weekend.
Dear god, bugger that. Firstly because I can’t imagine anything worse than having a schedule (7pm love, get your gear off!) and secondly because she was scheduling two shags a week. TWO!! Poor deprived Jack I thought to myself!

There were three responses to the woman’s post.

The first:
Holy crap, you guys are practically rabbits. We didn't have that much sex BEFORE our baby was born.
The second:
My libido got chucked out with the afterbirth
The third:
What is this libido you speak of? And where can I get one cheap.

See, it’s not just us.
Talk soon,
S xx

After I had stopped laughing, I started to cringe because my friend S is right. I know exactly how she feels. I know exactly how all those women feel. I am one of those women.
And I would venture to say that so are most new mothers.

It’s embarrassing and boring and annoying and irritating, and Gregory will be completely horrified that I’ve mentioned this at all, but lets be real people.
Regular sex (or lack thereof) post-baby is a serious, serious problem.

I am only 32.
According to my friend, the internet, I am smack bang in the middle of my sexual prime.

This is the reason women have babies in their twenties, so that when they hit their sexual peak, their pre-teen kids are at sleepovers on a Friday night, leaving the house free for vanilla scented candles, takeaway Thai, and a bit of a rumpy-pump on the living room floor.

When Miss Q is a pre-teen, I’ll be on the wrong side of forty.
Geez that seems old.
What is sex like when you’re forty?
Will I still be rumpy-pumping on the living room floor? Or will my back hurt and I’ll have to do the horizontal tango in a sensible place, like a bed?
How boring.

Now I’m depressed by the advent of sensible sex.
But first we have to get back to regular sex at all.

Lord I hope my mother-in-law doesn’t read this.
Or my mother.
Although I reckon if they did, they’d know exactly what I’m talking about.
I hope...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Miss Q was born in the last few hours of Scorpio land. Which means, according to the internet, that she is magnetic, elusive, sexy and determined. (And therefore, by the way, so am I).
Fair enough.
Magnetic – Yeah, ok, people seem stuck to her that’s for sure.
Elusive – Absolutely. Reasons for her behaviour often elude me.
Sexy – She’s 6 months old. That’s gross.
Determined – Damn straight.

But, say she’d stayed up there for another few hours (though there was no chance of that happening. Once she was on the move, nothing was stopping her) she would have been a Sagittarius instead.
In which case she would be confident, jovial and enthusiastic.
Confident – she seems to feel fairly secure in the world so far.
Jovial – It’s true. She thinks I’m very funny indeed.
Enthusiastic – Undoubtedly. You should see her sink her teeth into things. Literally.

So which one is she?
Does a few hours really make a difference?
Maybe she should spend the rest of her life saying she’s a Scortarius instead. A Sagio. A bit of a mix of both. Magnetically enthusiastic. Elusive, yet jovial about being so.

Don’t worry, I didn’t stop my research there. In an attempt to clarify things, I read up on her animal according to the Chinese calendar, but stopped when it said she was a tiger, a character prone to rashness and hesitation.
Surely she can’t be both.
And if she can, how the hell am I meant to parent that?????

So I decided to stick to a more traditional approach to raising my child and looked up old-fashioned parenting (on that not-so old-fashioned forum called the internet) and discovered several websites listing exactly that.
The five principles of old-fashioned parenting.
Except that each website had a different top five.

And now my brain hurts and my mother’s guilt is rearing its ugly head again as all this research makes me wonder if I’m actually up for this parenting gig at all.

I take several restorative breaths and conclude that if I calm down and consider things more logically, it would appear that the moral to this tale is to be very, very careful what you read on the internet.
Including this blog.
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